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Quick Takes: Netflix, into the sci-fi matrix

March 28, 2013

Netflix's newest original series will be science fiction from the duo behind the "The Matrix" trilogy.

Netflix announced Wednesday that it would stream "Sense8" late next year for subscribers. The series is the first foray into television for Andy and Lana Wachowski, the filmmaking siblings who directed "The Matrix" and last year's "Cloud Atlas."

Netflix called the 10-episode series "a gripping global tale of minds linked and souls hunted."

Netflix made its biggest splash with an original series last month with the debut of the political thriller "House of Cards," starring Kevin Spacey. This spring, it will premiere the horror series "Hemlock Grove" and the reborn comedy "Arrested Development."

—Associated Press

Faster access to Penguin e-books

The publisher of Khaled Hosseini, Harlan Coben and other popular authors has decided that it's comfortable with letting libraries offer e-book editions of brand new releases.

Starting Tuesday, libraries can offer e-books from Penguin Group (USA) at the same time that the hardcover comes out, a switch from the previous policy of delaying downloads for six months, the publisher said.

Although vastly more e-books are available to libraries compared with a few years ago, Penguin and other publishers have limited digital access for fear of losing sales. The American Library Assn. has been calling for less restrictive terms.

Like HarperCollins, Hachette Book Group and other publishers, Penguin is still not offering unlimited access to e-books. Libraries are allowed to lend out one e-edition at a time, for a duration determined by the library. Because e-books don't wear out, libraries can purchase them for one year, then must pay again to continue making them available.

—Associated Press

Lou Reed drops out of Coachella

Coachella just got a bit less grizzled.

Citing "unavoidable complications," Lou Reed said he has canceled his planned appearance at next month's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, scheduled to bring artists including Blur, Phoenix and Red Hot Chili Peppers to the Empire Polo Club in Indio.

Reed, a founding member of New York's influential Velvet Underground as well as a prolific solo artist, also called off several other West Coast dates around Coachella, including an April 17 gig at L.A.'s Orpheum Theatre.

—Mikael Wood

'Today' keeping Lauer as anchor

A top NBC News executive said Wednesday that the network was not considering replacing Matt Lauer as anchor of the "Today" show despite reports that Anderson Cooper of CNN had been approached about the job.

"Matt Lauer is the best in the business," said Alex Wallace, NBC News executive who oversees "Today." "We want him in the 'Today' show anchor chair for many years to come."

Wallace spoke after reports of a meeting with Cooper first appeared in Deadline Hollywood. The report was confirmed to the Associated Press by a source who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions were private.

The longtime king of morning television, "Today" has fallen behind ABC's "Good Morning America" in the ratings over the last year, particularly since the messy ouster of Ann Curry as Lauer's co-anchor last summer. There has been a flurry of stories recently retracing that decision. Lauer has said he urged the network to move more slowly with its planned changes, but a New York magazine cover story this week suggested that he didn't like Curry and that he did little to help her.

—Associated Press

A mass renewal of CBS shows

There's little suspense ahead for CBS viewers. The network says it has renewed 18 of its prime-time series for next season.

The renewals include "60 Minutes," "The Amazing Race," "NCIS" and "2 Broke Girls."

CBS is television's most stable and popular network in prime time and in recent years has predated the annual May announcement of its fall schedule by confirming mass renewals earlier in the spring.

The long-running comedy "Two and a Half Men" was not on the renewal list, but CBS said it was discussing another season with the show's production company, Warner Bros. Television.

Other shows still on the bubble are "CSI: NY," "Vegas," "Golden Boy" and "Rules of Engagement."

—Associated Press

Will he return as Han Solo?

Harrison Ford isn't ready — "yet" — to talk about his reported part in Disney's planned "Star Wars" sequel.

The 70-year-old actor — who came to fame playing Han Solo in the "Star Wars" trilogy — is shrugging off questions about that character while promoting his role as Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey in the upcoming Jackie Robinson film "42."

Asked how he feels generally that the "Star Wars" sequel and Disney spinoffs are in the works, Ford responded: "I don't feel anything at the moment yet."

—Associated Press

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